Sue Kiley, a Monmouth County commissioner and a registered nurse, is considering a challenge House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch) in New Jersey’s 6th district net year, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Kiley told Republican leaders of her interest in challenging Pallone, an 18-term incumbent and one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill, on Monday morning. A spokesman for Kiley confirmed that she is considering running against Pallone.
“Frank Pallone no longer represents the values of the people of Middlesex and Monmouth County,” Kiley said. “Pallone stands with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi. I stand with the people of New Jersey.”
Kiley, who said she would make a formal announcement after January 1, is ready to tie Pallone to the Democratic president.
“Just this weekend, Pallone emailed his supporters bragging about the so called accomplishments of the Biden Administration,” she said. “Biden has brought us higher gas prices, higher grocery prices and international disgrace. We need to elect new leaders who will put the interest of American first.”
The composition of Pallone’s district is still not clear. The Congressional Redistricting Commission is meeting later this week and a deal map could come out of that process.
Kiley would be the first serious challenger to Pallone since Monmouth County Freeholder Anna Little ran in the 2010 mid-term election. Pallone won by 16,520 votes, 55%-44%.
A former Hazlet mayor, Kiley was re-elected county commissioner last month with 61% of the vote against former Neptune Mayor Michael Beson, who had served as an aide to Pallone in the 1990s. She ran two points ahead of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli in Monmouth County.
Gov. Phil Murphy carried the 6th district by a 51%-48% margin last month. Murphy, who lives in the district, received 57% in 2017. Joe Biden won 57% against Donald Trump in 2020, running one percent better than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.
In her first countywide election in 2018, Kiley defeated Democrat Amber Gesslein, a labor leader, by a 50%-45% margin. John P. Curley, a Republican incumbent who lost party support and sought re-election as an independent, received 5% of the vote.
Kiley worked as a nurse and then as a healthcare sales and marketing executive before running for local office in Hazlet in 2013 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Pallone was re-elected in 2020 by a 61%-39% margin against Republican Christian Onuoha. He won 66% in the Middlesex County portion of the district and 52% in Monmouth,
Onuoha was elected to the Sayreville Borough Council on November 2.